WORD CAME TOO LATE TO BE OF ANY HELP BUT THANK YOU ANYWAY
And you have this moment where, instead of an issue being suddenly clarified, you realize it’s beyond you. This is a problem only if you studied for the test, because studying should lead to something. Then it’s, “No one is talking about the machinery they’re throwing overboard,” say hundreds of pink flamingoes talking with each other. There’s a sheen to things. The image of yourself much older appears, standing at the foot of your bed dressed for a formal event. “Am I travelling? Then I travel,” you think. First, to wash yourself, you take a bath or shower. Then what? It’s a secret, isn’t it? You’re just gone, as far as the rest of us can tell. The test was you, perhaps. And here we thought we were keeping score, but really it was some other way, and we’ve begun to worry about the mirrors that suddenly seem to be everywhere.
A cracked mirror, and all of the windows gone white with frost. I didn't want to say it, but I wondered where you were going with that story about our old house and the little ghosts you kept dragging up from the basement. Still, I stood there and listened, nodded appreciatively as the lights flickered and the cable went out. When you mentioned the scorecard, though, I knew something had to be done. You see, everything in this room adheres to principles, and changing the rules midway through the game can be dangerous. It's like deciding to experiment with particle physics for a day, or digging up all the flowers in a garden just to see what happens. Before you realize it, the freeway no longer leads to the grocery store. The mailbox isn't where you remembered it. And even the dishes you left on the table will be gone.
John Gallaher & Kristina Marie Darling were born in Portland and Tulsa. Their collaborations appear in OmniVerse, Requited, diode, and elsewhere. They currently live and write in rural Missouri, while also taking frequent trips on the bullet train from Paris to Agen.
Curator: Lisa A. Flowers is a poet, critic, vocalist, the founding editor of Vulgar Marsala Press, and the author of diatomhero: religious poems. Her work has appeared in The Collagist, Entropy, and other magazines and online journals. Raised in Los Angeles and Portland, OR, she now resides in the rugged terrain above Boulder, Colorado. Visit her here or here.
Photo credit: still from Jean Cocteau's The Blood of a Poet (1930)